Barring any balls to the wall free agent signings, these are the ten teams in Major League Baseball that face long roads to winning a World Series.
1. Miami Marlins
The Marlins are in a complete and distinct rebuild in Derek Jeter’s first foray into running a team. Maybe he sees something in the farm system that no one else can. Or he sees nothing. Either way this would trump anything he did as a player if he pulls this franchise out of the doldrums. This is the effect of the Jose Fernandez tragedy.
2. Oakland Athletics
The A’s haven’t had four consecutive losing seasons since the mid-1990s. Billy Beane may have finally run out kinks if he has a fourth straight losing season for the first time in his career. He just hasn’t drafted the type of pitching that we’re accustomed to seeing; at least not the pitching to support an offense that does not make contact. He won’t spend money on free agents.
3. Tampa Bay Rays
The Evan Longoria trade was a stunner. If any player was made to be a Ray for life it was Longo. Alex Cobb’s free agency takes a quality starting pitcher out of the rotation. They are stockpiling young players and the Rays always seem to have a plan that’s outside the box. But right now it feels like they are taking a couple of steps back before going forward.
4. San Diego Padres
The problem with the Padres is that they don’t have any pitching in a pitching-friendly park. And when they throw that mediocre pitching against the high-powered offenses of the Dodgers, Rockies and D-Backs and now the Giants, it’s difficult to improve. It’s a double whammy that the Padres also don’t have the hitting to keep up.
5. Philadelphia Phillies
Not all rebuilds work out. With the success of the Eagles, Flyers and 76ers it may go unnoticed for a while in Freedom town, but the Phillies still don’t have a true all-star after five straight losing seasons. Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera are solid, but the Phillies keep getting farther away from their glory days under Charlie Manuel. Maybe they’ll go after Bryce Harper, but that’s still not enough.
6. Kansas City Royals
Some rebuilds are more satisfying than others. The Royals can celebrate their rebuild now after winning a World Series and nearly winning another. Salvador Perez is the right holdover to build around at catcher. But Perez hopes to find enough adequate hurlers to catch in this rebuild.
7. Detroit Tigers
The real mystery is what happened to Miguel Cabrera. Maybe aliens stole his ability to hit the baseball to right field. Cabrera is the last player you would expect to lose his batted ball ability. Cabrera’s slump is why the Tigers had the most losses since 2003 last season. Cabrera and Jordan Zimmermann make all the money but unless they get back to their prime the Tigers won’t have much.
8. Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles’ hopes rest on Kevin Gausman in their starting rotation. He has the stuff of an ace but he may not have the stamina. This season will determine that. Regardless of Gausman though, the Orioles are going to get blasted anyway in the American League East. Even an offense with Manny Machado won’t be able to keep up all the time. Machado will be a free agent.
9. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners finally have an offense just when Felix Hernandez is on the downside of his career. James Paxton could become a star. He still needs support from Hernandez, who did not throw 100 innings and had his highest ERA since his second season in 2006. Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz are getting old too.
10. Arizona Diamondbacks
Can the pitching staff duplicate the success of last year against the Dodgers, Rockies and Giants in the National League West? Robbie Ray is a keeper but good luck trusting Patrick Corbin, Taijuan Walker, Zack Greinke and Zach Godley. J.D. Martinez’s hot streak from last year cannot be duplicated. A.J. Pollock and Jake Lamb might be overrated long-term. Paul Goldschmidt’s health is also a concern.
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Published on 2/22/18 at 10:27 AM EST. Photo credit: Sports Illustrated.Share this post on:
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